EAB News 2003-01-31: EAB NetNews Bulletin

EAB NetNews - January 2003


E A B N E T N E W S No 14 (31 Jan 2003)


*** Keeping you up-to-date about Esperanto, for people in the UK ***


1. SHATNER FILM: SHOWING IN LONDON THIS SATURDAY!
2. MOZILLA WEB BROWSER NOW IN ESPERANTO
3. 'ESPERANTO VIVA!' NOW SET FOR WIDESPREAD USE
4. ESPERANTO GETS GOING IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC


1. SHATNER FILM: SHOWING IN LONDON THIS SATURDAY!

Incubus, the 'cursed' science fiction film starring William Shatner, of Star Trek fame, is to have a public showing in the UK on Saturday (Feb 1) in London. The film is entirely in Esperanto - with English subtitles.

We reported on Incubus in NetNews 12 http://www.esperanto.org/uk/eabnetnews/netnews000012.txt, when it was about to have its world premiere on TV on the Sci-Fi Channel in California. It had a rather interesting review http://www.scifi.com/sfw/issue285/screen3.html. I notice it's about to be broadcast again in February on TV-Now http://www.tv-now.com/stars/shatner.html.

The film will be presented as part of the Sci-Fi-London film festival http://www.sci-fi-london.com/main.shtml at the Curzon Soho in Shaftsbury Avenue at 13:00 (if you've previously seen their web page, they've just corrected the time). The price is 8 GBP, and they were about a third booked on Wednesday midday. You can book by phone, with a credit card, direct with the Curzon Soho box office, tel: 0871 871 0022.

"Okay", says their web page http://www.sci-fi-london.com/movies/incubus.htm, "a black and white, low-budget film in Esperanto that has 'Kirk' in the lead might sound like enough reason to fall about laughing... be prepared for a surprise! Incubus is a film-noir of exceptional strength. Dark and eerie, the close camera work, natural lighting and performances by all involved help this film achieve a very European feel... Whatever your reasons for seeing it, to see Shatner act, to see people talk a language few of us know or because you love b/w film, Incubus will stay long in your memory".

Actually, I hear that it was the Esperantists who fell about laughing at Shatner's ideosyncratic pronunciation when it was premiered in California (before they lost it). Have fun! By the way, have you seen the Klingon Institute's web page in Esperanto http://www.kli.org/kli/langs/KLIe-o.html?


2. MOZILLA WEB BROWSER NOW IN ESPERANTO

When Netscape release their source code for their Navigator web browser, the Mozilla project was born. Mozilla http://www.mozilla.org is an an open-source web browser - this means that anyone can work on it - which is being developed as an advance web browser, but in accordance with Internet standards. It can be downloaded for Windows, Linŭ and the Macintosh.

The Mozilla web browser is now available in Esperanto. Eduardo Trapani in Uruguay has a website translation page http://www.esperanto.org.uy/mozilo/, where he explains a little about the project. About six months ago about 50% of the text had been translated by many contributors. Edmund Grimley Evans, president of the Esperanto Association of Britain, had been one of the main contributors. The project then came to a hiatus, but Eduardo Trapani has been working over the last six months to pull the whole thing together. Most of the texts are now in translation, and the Esperanto language files can be downloaded.

Installation is simply a matter of a few mouse clicks on options within the browser, then selection of the version. A more complete range of versions is given on Eduardo's site than on the Mozilla site. Eduardo is encouraging people to join in, by helping, or by checking what's been done so far.

I like their statement on how to contribute: "How can you participate? Simply by doing so!". Perhaps that should be an Esperanto motto, too: "Kiel partopreni? Tutsimple fari!".

* I hear that the Opera web browser http://www.opera.com can now display the Esperanto alphabet, as does the Google search engine http://www.google.com


3. 'ESPERANTO VIVA!' NOW SET FOR WIDESPREAD USE

'Esperanto Viva!', the web-based introduction to the Esperanto language and its worldwide community, is now set for rapid expansion, following the automation of its administration system. This will not only make the selection of tutors, and the distribution of students' responses more-or-less instantaneous, but it will also be able to cope with a much larger amount of traffic, keep statistics, give alerts when tutors disappear, and various other time-consuming chores.

The introductory course was initially designed with the specific purpose of stimulating the Esperanto movement in Britain. In practice, enthusiastic students have been appearing from all over the world. Stimulating enthusiasm, by giving some insight into the language, rather than slogging systematically through the grammar, was its main purpose; once people are enthused, they will learn. Publicity, however, has been muted, otherwise the manual systems would have been overwhelmed.

A number of projects are going ahead in parallel. The pages were upgraded to Unicode - enabling any language combinations (in principle, not always in practices yet), with a facility for changing the ways the letters appear on the screen. Addition of sound to the dialogues is not too far off, and an interactive version will allow much easier access to grammatical explanations, should the student wish to delve deeper. A web-based translation interface is on its way - though with a system designed for use in any language, in combination with Esperanto, and with any keyboard layout in the world (for both the student and the tutor), this has not been without some challenges.

At present, the course is available on the web in English, Spanish, Norwegian and Korean, with the first two lessons in Hebrew. It has been attracting around two hundred newcomers per year. In order to dramatically increase this number, we shall need more tutors. It would be nice to have some in the UK, for instance! At present, there is an unfortunate backlog; the manual system came under strain when the administrator fell ill (Helen is now doing fine, by the way). So when students send in their exercises, they'll get an message saying that they will be put into a queue, pending a tutor. I'd like to clear that backlog as soon as possible, of course.

That's not all they get, though. The return page is now in the same style as the rest of the course, and the idea is to provide something stimulating just as they thought they'd finished! So far, there's a link to an Esperanto chat site, where after lession 1 some enthusiasts may just about think of plucking up courage to introduce themselves. You can see a demo of this, by calling up the English lesson 1, where there is now a space at the end to put in a keyword, to identify a particular tutor (useful for Esperanto class). If instead, you enter 'demo', then you'll see everything, without your exercises being sent for real. The site is at http://esperanto.org/espviva. If you wish to find out more about becoming a tutor, then click on the Esperanto flag near the top of the page. I realised recently that the tutor registration program seems to have disappeared. This will be up and running shortly, but in the mean time, just send me an email (ianatesperanto.org).


4. ESPERANTO GETS GOING IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

An ex-student of the web course 'Esperanto Viva!' is now introducing Esperanto to the Dominican Republic. Rafael Despradel told NetNews (my translation): "The first Esperanto course in the Dominican Republic (or San Domingo) began in January and ended in March. Twenty young people completed it, but for various reasons, only ten of them took part in the second course. I taught those courses by the Cseh [direct] method".

In October he started a third course, with five students. "They are all quite good Esperanto speakers", he added. Following publicity for the course, he received over 200 picture postcards from four continents, to encourage his students. He has even set up an internet email conversation group esperanto-en-domingoatyahoogroups.com (I must do that for 'Esperanto Viva!' - I did briefly link in to an international email group for beginners, but that promptly disappeared!).

I asked him about how he came to learn Esperanto, and he replied: "I found 'Esperanto Viva!' in the CiudadFutura website (in Spanish), and I took to it immediately. It is pleasing to the eye, and afterwards I found that it is also very rich in content. I sent a message right away, and Rene Salcedo in Florida, USA, helped me, and very kindly corrected my mistakes, and gave me lots of explanations. He is a VERY good teacher! I sent him all the assignments, and he sent them back with the corrections right away! :-) 'Esperanto Viva!' is a very good course. It would be good to publish an 'Esperanto Viva II' for intermediate students... ;-)".

Rafael is also active in TEJO - the international Esperanto youth association http://www.tejo.org/aktivuloj/komitato/rafael_despradel.jsp.

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EAB NETNEWS - a newsletter from Esperanto Association of Britain
Wedgwood Memorial College, Barlaston, Stoke-on-Trent, ST12 9DE
Tel: 01782 372 141 Fax: 01782 372 393
Website: http://www.esperanto.org.uk
Editor: Ian Fantom, eabnetnewsatesperanto.org, tel: 01635 38592

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